bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the victory over UCSB on Monday night?
Mark Trakh: I was real proud of the kids. Santa Barbara is a good team, they'd lost a couple close games at the buzzer. They beat Pepperdine 55-44 and right now Pepperdine is up at the half at USC 42-35. It shows that we're getting better. I thought it was 40 minutes of focused basketball defensively. We did a good job defensively, they have some good offensive players and we did a good job. I just feel that if you look at the team, they're playing together, they're playing hard. The team chemistry is good. The kids are playing hard and having fun. We'd like a few more wins but you lose on a last second loss to Southern Utah, you lose in overtime to UTEP, we lost a one-point game to New Mexico, we're right there with four or five wins if we could have won those games. We're not playing badly, we've been competitive in all our games except the game against UTEP at UTEP. I think we're headed in the right direction. We play Utah tonight, I don't know what the outcome of this game is going to be but we're going to play hard. I think we're okay. I think we're moving in the right direction and I like where we are and I like the fact that our team chemistry is good and we're playing hard and getting in the gym and we're learning everyday. I don't look at it as we're having a bad year, we're doing okay right now. The kids are up, the coaching staff is up and we're just going to move forward.
bc.net: One of the big keys in the game against UCSB was your ability to cut down the turnovers and you were able to keep Tabytha out of foul trouble.
MT: We only had 14 turnovers against Santa Barbara, our guards are doing a good job. In fact, most of our turnovers are coming from positions outside our guards. So we're doing a good job there, we're handling pressure, we're getting in our offense and Tabytha was out of foul trouble. Tabytha played the best defensively I've ever seen her play. She moved her feet, she was helping on defense, she was aware, she was focused, she was balance and I think that was why she stayed out of foul trouble. I think the kids are becoming focused and aware and following through on the game plan for 40 minutes. There's a purpose for everything we do for 40 minutes and they can't start slacking and playing but the seat of their pants. That's when we get in trouble. But they stayed focused and took a big step forward and they were all focused for 40 minutes.
bc.net: When we talked last time you were hoping for a win that might put the team onto run and the win on Monday was a good win. Do you get that sense that that was the win that might get you on that run?
MT: Unfortunately we have to come to Utah and play a Pac 12 team, a pretty good one, the very next game so I don't know what 's going to happen tonight. We're going to play hard, we have a chance to win this game if we play hard. We have to be competitive. We get Boise at home, we get New Mexico at home and we get Shaw at home and then we go on the road to Missouri-Kansas City. Those are all going to be tough games but they're all games that we can be competitive in and win. Hopefully this will get us going where we can win four out of five or five out of six going into conference.
bc.net: You've also had different players other than Tabytha who have stepped up. Erica Sanchez on Monday night, you've had career nights from Jasmine Rutledge and Kelsie Rozendaal as well. How much are the players starting to understand their roles in the system?
MT: They understand their roles very well. Sanchez, she was instrumental in our comeback. She had three big three pointers to get us back in. Kelsie's been scoring, Kaitlyn Soto had 14 points. We don't want to be a one-man team. We tell whoever's open to shoot the ball. We want to play team basketball. Tabytha is probably going to lead us in scoring on most nights but other kids are really stepping up right now.
bc.net: Tonight you take on Utah, what are some things that your team needs to focus on tonight?
MT: We've got to stop Wicijowski and Plouffe, they're really really good players. Then they've got kids who can really shoot the ball. They're very disciplined, they run their motion offense and their sets very well. We're going to have to be very disciplined on defense just like we were against Santa Barbara but it's going to be a battle. We told them that we're a disciplined team, we're disciplined positionally, we're disciplined in running our stuff and we beat a very disciplined team in Santa Barbara and now we've gotta beat another disciplined team in Utah tonight. It's just a question of being disciplined for 40 minutes and following through on our assignments for 40 minutes and playing with a purpose for 40 minutes.